More iMovie and iPhone4 tips: Don’t Delete that Clip!

Don’t delete any video clip from your camera roll until you’re certain your project is finished.

The clips you pull in from your video selection screen are NOT actually added into your iMovie project. Those clips are referenced by iMovie, and likely take up RAM, but are NOT separate copies from your camera roll.

Why does this matter?

If you delete a video clip from your camera roll, and that clip is being used in a iMovie project, that video in progress is now broken. You can double click the missing app and select another one, but you’ll also have to set up all the selections you want again. I’ve even had one project that couldn’t recover from a missing clip and I had to delete the entire project and start over.   😦  I’m a little worried that this issue was caused by deleting an EARLIER video in my Camera Roll, as I still have the video that ‘won’t play’ stored in my roll. If you’ve spent a good bit of time on a project, I’d avoid deleting any video or pics until you are finished and can successfully export the project.

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iMovie tip on iPhone 4: Don’t Fall Asleep at the Export

Another quick tip I haven’t seen yet…

When you’re exporting your iMovie out to your camera roll, you may want to change Auto-Lock to “Never” prior to doing so. It appears that iMovie’s export process doesn’t really ‘freeze state’ or use any of the other semi-fake iOS4 multitasking methods. In other words, if your iPhone goes into sleep state (ala, ‘the display turns off’) while exporting, you have to start all over again.

This can be a real pain if you’re exporting a 5 minute high-def video, since HD exports take at least 2X the video length to completely finish.

Don’t forget to turn Auto-Lock back to something like 1 minute if you want to save the most battery power. So far, I’m not very impressed with the iPhone 4’s advertised superior battery life…but I am comparing it to a Mophi-Juice Pack encased 3GS previously.

iPhone4 & iMovie:How to Clip Videos, Fade-to-Black & Flash White

I have to say I’ve been pretty impressed with iMovie on the iPhone 4.

After getting over the one non-intuitive item, adding titles by double-clicking on the video in the timeline, I was able to create fun short videos with some pretty cool effects in under 15 minutes. I noticed two really good videos entirely shot on the iPhone 4. This link will take you to a video that shows the ‘behind the scenes’ iPhone being used on custom built camera dolly and other mobile video camera mounts to create professional film-like camera shots.

And this Ducati commercial was also shot entirely on an iPhone 4, but they did use some professional post production to smooth things out and such.

After seeing these two videos this week, I decided to play around with iMovie myself and have been really, really impressed.

But…as I looked around from various iMovie tips, I consistently saw people complaining that you cannot ‘clip video’. iMovie provides a way to ‘shorten’ clips by dragging the beginning of the clip to start ‘later’ within it or dragging in the end of the clip so that it ends earlier.

I also found people wishing there were fade-to-black and white flash transitions available. As well as “Solid Black, White or Color backgrounds for title only transitions.

I’m not a video guy by any means…but this wasn’t that hard to figure out and I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone mention these basic ‘hacks’…so here goes my tips:

How to add a Fade-to-Black:

  1. Locate or create a solid black jpg of size 1000 x 700
  2. Email the image and save it to your camera roll, or use your favorite method to get the jpg there.
  3. Place this picture wherever you want a “fade-to-black” transition…stretch it out to make it longer.

How to add a White-Flash scene transition:

  1. Locate or create a solid white black jpg image and save that one to your camera
  2. You do see where this is going, right?    😉

How to add a black ‘title only’ transition:

  1. Video a black piece of paper in a dark room so that the video appears all black, using your iPhone 4.
  2. Drag this video clip onto your timeline and double click to add your titles

How to add a white…or any other color…”title only” transition:

  1. In a brightly, well lit area, video various color poster board so that only that color appears in the video
  2. I think you can figure the rest out

Finally, how to ‘clip video’:

  1. Ok. You can’t. BUT…you can smell like someone that can.  🙂
  2. Seriously, iMovie does allow you to use the same clip over and over. So if you want to start by showing ten seconds of video near the end of your clip and THEN only showing 8 seconds of something near the beginning of the clip, you can achieve that goal by using the same clip ‘twice’, shrinking each one to show only the ‘out-of-sequence’ shots you want to display in the appropriate spot on your timeline.
  3. Start by dropping the clip onto the timeline from your camera roll
  4. Shorten both ends to show only the ten seconds that you want to start with.
  5. Insert the same clip again from your camera roll
  6. Shorten the clip to show only the eight seconds that you want near the beginning of the clip.
  7. Add other transition effects as shown.

Here’s my example of some very quick first attempts. I did not have a well lit environment, so I only used the black video for titles. I’ll need to get some color poster board to create the other color title screens ‘samples’. I recommend shooting at least 15-20 seconds in order to have plenty of time for viewers to read your titles. You can always shorten it if needed.

Since I’m not near my desktop, where I sync via cable, I am emailing this to Youtube in a lower quality setting. Apple & AT&T have announced they’ll soon allow us to email the High Def format soon, but I’ll replace this once I get tethered in a day or three.

Enjoy!  Please post other ‘tips or tricks’ in the comments field if you have any.

Click here to see a Video Sample using most of these effects